National Statement by Sweden at the Security Council Ministerial Meeting on Non-Proliferation/DPRK
National Statement by H.E. Annika Söder, Deputy Foreign Minister of Sweden, at the Security Council Ministerial Meeting on Non-Proliferation/DPRK. Friday, 28 April 2017, New York.
I wish to express my gratitude to you and to the United States Presidency of the Security Council for convening this timely and important meeting. I thank the Secretary-General for his briefing. The situation on the Korean Peninsula, particularly the DPRK's pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, is of great concern for the region and for our world more broadly. Tensions have risen in recent months and the potential for mistakes, misunderstandings and miscalculations is high. For this reason, it is important that this Council seizes its opportunity to reflect on how tensions can be reduced and how this Council can facilitate a comprehensive solution to the situation.
Despite repeated unanimous condemnations by the Security Council and the adoption of a number of UNSC resolutions – leading, actually, to the most rigorous sanctions regime under the UN system – the DPRK persists in accelerating its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programme. In doing so, the DPRK continues to show blatant disregard for its international obligations and it continues to threaten international peace and security. Its actions are also incompatible with the existing global norm against nuclear testing embodied in the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and they go against non-proliferation work.
We call on the DPRK to take immediate steps towards a complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of its nuclear weapons and its missile programme. This will help pave the way for peaceful and prosperous development on the Korean Peninsula. In addition, it is clear that there is an urgent need for a regional security arrangement in the medium term to be able to realize this goal.
Sanctions must be duly implemented to have the desired effect. This is also a matter of credibility for the UN system. Yet, the implementation of the sanctions against the DPRK remains insufficient and highly inconsistent, as highlighted in the latest report of the Panel of Experts to the Sanctions Committee. The recommendations provided by the Panel must be followed up, and there is a need for a stronger political commitment by all UN Members in this regard. We need additional capacity at all levels to ensure better compliance with the letter and spirit of the resolutions adopted by this Council.
But sanctions alone will not solve the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Now diplomacy is crucial. Intensified and creative diplomatic efforts are urgently needed to prepare for a peaceful, diplomatic and comprehensive solution. The press statement in response to the latest ballistic missile launch, that statement confirms the continued commitment of this Council to dialogue. The situation must be approached without prejudice, and we must be prepared to consider both new and previous proposals and agreements. Sweden is ready to do its part to fulfil this goal.
Sweden and our embassy in Pyongyang is the protective power for the interests of the United States as well as Canada and Australia. We are also a member of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission, and in this context we strongly encourages the DPRK to resume contact and cooperation with the Commission at the border station in Panmunjom. This would contribute to reducing tensions and increasing trust and transparency.
I would also, like others, like to take this opportunity to draw attention to the extremely worrying human rights situation and precarious humanitarian conditions in the DPRK. It is the duty of all of us to continue to highlight the atrocities being committed by the regime against its own people. The international community should continue to pursue accountability for these crimes. But we should also look to the humanitarian situation of the people of the DPRK to avoid suffering as we implement the sanctions regime.
The pursuit of weapons of mass destruction represents one of the gravest threats to international peace and security. Preventing their development and use is a crucial responsibility of this Council. There is no military solution to the situation on the Korean Peninsula. And we again call on the DPRK to re-engage in a credible and meaningful dialogue with the international community; and, we call upon us, the international community, to stand ready. In the meantime, Sweden will stand united with Council members in condemning any action that jeopardises international peace and security.
Thank you, Mr President